[forthright] This Old House

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2006 13:10:02 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: Field Notes

This Old House
by Michael E. Brooks

"For we know that if our earthly house, this tent,
is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house
not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2
Corinthians 5:1).

On my first trip to Kalmegha, Bangladesh, several
years ago, I visited in the home of "Andrew," a
newly-baptized former Hindu. He mentioned at that
time that the previous evening they had prayed in
his house to the Hindu gods, but "tonight we have
prayed in this house to the real God." Andrew and
his wife are gone, but their daughter-in-law and
her two children still live in their house. It is
old, much damaged with rot and termites, and in
sore need of replacement. Thankfully, some have
contributed for that purpose and within a short
time this family will have a new house, safe and
functional.

Some of us remember the old gospel song, "This Old
House," with the lyrics, "Ain't gonna need this
house no longer, ain't gonna need this house no
more; Ain't got time to fix the shingles, ain't
got time to mend the floor; Ain't got time to oil
the hinges or to mend the window pane, ain't gonna
need this house no longer, I'm getting ready to
meet the saints." This song reminds us of Paul's
figure of speech from 2 Corinthians 5. The earthly
house in both cases is our fleshly body. It ages,
deteriorates, and ultimately must fail us. But the
great Christian hope is of another "house" which
will replace this one, a house which in turn will
never have to be replaced, but is "eternal in the
heavens."

It is rewarding to be able to help someone in need
replace their decaying or damaged home. The many
workers in the U.S. Katrina-ravaged Gulf coast who
are rebuilding and repairing those houses know a
deep satisfaction from their hard work and
generosity. So too, when we are able to provide
funds for a poor Asian family to have an adequate
house, we are blessed. But this is a small
accomplishment compared to the great gift of a new
house for all eternity. When one builds a house of
brick or wood it may last a lifetime or perhaps a
few lifetimes, at most. However, when one puts on
a "new man" (Ephesians 4:24), he is destined to
live eternally in an incorruptible "house" (1
Corinthians 15:53). There is no building which can
compare. No contractor or carpenter can hope to
erect a house that will last for untold thousands,
even millions, of years. Yet the house which we
will receive will not show the slightest wear,
even after much longer than that.

Physical dwelling places have great importance in
our life styles. We need their shelter. We take
significant aspects of our identity from our
houses. Our dreams and goals often focus upon the
kind of home for which we long. If we can
translate those same significances to our eternal
hope, it will have great impact on our spiritual
growth. Let us "set (our) mind(s) on things above,
not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:2). We
really will not need this old house much longer.
Not if we are truly "getting ready to meet the
saints."

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